Born to an English mother and a Sicilian father, Laura Notarbartolo’s upbringing was a mix of diverse influences, fostering a love for languages, travel, and the hidden gems of her native Italy.

After more than a decade of travelling worldwide as a contract and product manager for an international destination management company (DMC), Laura felt the call to embark on a personal journey. She dreamt of creating a company that celebrated Italy in all its diversity – not just the iconic cities but the undiscovered treasures, ancient traditions, and seasonal wonders that lay hidden. This vision gave birth to Italian Special Occasions DMC & Events in 2013.

Laura Notarbartolo, founder of Italian Special Occasions DMC & Events

Her dear friends, Erin Sellers and Karima Lounas, were instrumental in the first brainstorming session, aimed at unveiling Italy’s hidden gems. Together, they embarked on a mission aligned with Laura’s steadfast goal: to organise sustainable events celebrating Italy’s rich culture while honouring local communities and the environment. This vision set Laura on a meticulous three-year quest across Italy, where she carefully chose venues, experiences, and local partners who shared her ethos.

Erin Sellers has been a cornerstone of the initiative from the outset, consistently enriching the company with her values and dedication. Tragically, Karima Lounas passed away in 2018, yet her spirit, ideas, and positivity continue to inspire us, especially during challenging times. Her legacy is a beacon that guides our efforts, reminding us of the importance of perseverance and the impact of heartfelt collaboration.

One of the first challenges was creating a website that resonated emotionally with the company’s vision and stood out on social media in an era dominated by mainstream travel content. Laura partnered with fellow globetrotter and web marketing manager Raffaella Monaco to create a website encapsulating the essence of Italian Special Occasions DMC & Events.

Building an online presence was a gradual process. Monthly blog posts featuring original venues, event planning tips, and successful case studies became the cornerstone of our DMC’s digital narrative. While selfie culture in popular hotspots reigned on social media, Laura focused on steering away from the beaten path. By sharing authentic experiences in off-the-radar locations, the company aimed to inspire new travellers seeking genuine connections with the places they visited.

event venues off the beaten path in italy
Laura explores destinations, museums and activities off the beaten path, for example the Salt Museum in Nubia, Sicily

Client testimonials expressing gratitude for unforgettable experiences designed and executed by Italian Special Occasions DMC & Events became our greatest reward. We have planned events and offered destination management services for prestigious companies like the European Space Agency, Kerastase Brazil, NuXeo, Marine Harvest, and LS Retail – to name a few.

However, the journey was not without its hurdles. One significant challenge was overcoming the preconceived notion that Italy was synonymous with its famous cities. Educating potential clients about the beauty and potential of lesser-known destinations required patience, determination and enthusiasm.

Another obstacle was navigating the intricacies of coordinating events in remote locations. Italian Special Occasions DMC & Events developed a robust network of local suppliers and collaborators, ensuring seamless execution and support for events in less-explored regions. This not only enriched the experiences offered but also empowered local communities.

corporate event and team building planners in italy
Thank you to the team that has supported and still supports Italian Special Occasions throughout the years, among which Erin, Maria, Raffaella and Daniela. and our GREAT coach Noemi Freixes

In conclusion, Italian Special Occasions DMC & Events is more than a company; it’s a beacon of passion, vision, and unwavering dedication. Laura Notarbartolo’s visionary dream of transforming the Italian experience has materialised into a vibrant reality, intertwining sustainability, cultural reverence, and genuine connections into every event crafted.

As the company flourishes, its commitment deepens, continuously seeking to unveil and celebrate Italy’s hidden marvels. This journey of discovery and celebration is further enriched by several innovative parallel projects:

  • Beyond Italy: Our social media campaign shines a spotlight on Italy’s sustainability champions, sharing inspiring stories of environmental stewardship.
  • Creative Italy: In partnership with this initiative, we invite travellers to immerse themselves in the ‘Made in Italy’ experience, fostering a deeper appreciation for Italian craftsmanship and innovation.
  • By Creating You Learn: This unique educational venture in Milazzo, Sicily, offers a blend of history, art, sustainability, and wellness. Designed to positively impact the local community, its flexible model allows for replication worldwide, spreading its beneficial influence far beyond Sicily.

Each project not only complements our core mission but also propels us toward a future where every journey through Italy explores its soul, sustainability, and the stories that make it uniquely captivating. Italian Special Occasions DMC & Events continues to pioneer unforgettable experiences, inviting all who venture with us to look beyond the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary nuances of Italy.

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